Vol.VIII No.VII Pg.6
September 1971

Books And Theology

Robert F. Turner

Gospel preachers are not theologians — in the bad sense: giving undue attention to critical studies or systematic dogma, at the expense of practical evangelization — or even in a good blending of such studies in a methodical formulation of the why and wherefore of our preaching. Most of us have no formal training in such, and if we ascribe to a particular school of theology, it is coincidence — more stumbled upon in the course of Bible study than accepted as such, or used to develop further conclusions. This is as it should be. We are thus left unfettered by creeds and systems that force interpretation of scripture into prescribed channels.

But gospel preachers like books: reference books, word studies, commentaries, and even theological studies — to get a fresh view. And if we could get these books from a discount house, at about half price, we might stock our library with material slanted in one particular theological channel, train our thinking down that path, and reach some very erroneous conclusions. The bent of our library will affect us most in fields of study where we have the poorest developed theology of our own — re: the Holy Spirit, the nature of man, redemption, and judgement. (With good reason we have emphasized the particulars of such matters, but have not analyzed the philosophy of them. We would likely reject a particular error — a still small voice — while we accept a Greek word study that is colored by the same basic error.)

Now maybe you do not attach this much significance to the books you read, but book sellers know their potential impact. A recent RBDH bulletin says, When the Lord provides the place and the people to man it, then He moves on your heart to provide the money. LISTEN TO HIM: we trust you will hear Him say to you, Help RBDH to start their Houston oasis, thus obeying My command to feed My sheep! And again, If you folks down in the Chicago area will each give is a little publicity by your word-of- mouth advertising, well get this one up and doing the work of the Lord in sufficient abundance to have an impact on Chicago- land.

This is not an indictment of books nor a suggestion that one should not buy commentaries from RBDH or other sectarian book stores. Brethren are selling these same books, often at higher prices. I am sounding a warning about loading ones library with Calvinistic theology; or, for that matter, with books dominated by any single systematic dogma of man. We are conservative fundamental and evangelical in the broad sense, so we naturally turn to this field for most of our books. But these terms are very broad, and cover a multitude of errors. Dont allow yourself to be brainwashed.

In the final analysis there is no substitute for your own study of the Bible. In my Bible I have pasted short quotation: The best sermons like poems, are born, not made. They are most likely to spring up when the minister is reading the Bible. Fill yourself with Gods word, until His truth overflows upon your hearers.